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Thursday, 24 October 2019

Manchester City blow as Stones ruled out of Shakhtar clash

Reuters , Tuesday 17 Sep 2019
 John Stones
Manchester City defender John Stones (Reuters)
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Manchester City's defensive injury problems deepened ahead of their opening Champions League clash away to Shakhtar Donetsk with centre back John Stones being ruled out with a muscle injury.

City manager Pep Guardiola broke the news during his pre-match news conference.

"He made a pass and was injured," Guardiola told reporters, confirming the injury occurred during Tuesday's training session. "No problems, he (Fernandinho) can deal with it and he will do well because my players are well.

"We will create something, it is what it is."

Fresh from a shock 3-2 Premier League defeat by promoted Norwich City and with French centre back Aymeric Laporte out injured until January or February, the news that Stones could now miss five weeks gives Guardiola a headache.

"Football is not how you handle good situations, but how you handle bad ones," he said. "We won seven titles and no one gave us anything, we did it ourselves.

"I am ready for the challenge. I like this situation."

Shakhtar are dangerous opponents, especially on their own turf, and City are down to their last available established central defender in Nicolas Otamendi.

"Big challenge. So for me as a manager it's an incredible challenge, just one central defender in Nico," Guardiola said.

"But I believe a lot, people don't know the spirit and resolve to solve this problem. It's happened, but what we are not going to do is complain."

Midfielder Phil Foden is also out of Wednesday's match through illness.

"He has a virus problem with the stomach. He will miss this game and maybe the next," Guardiola said.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 
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